Last year’s winners of the SASSY Awards. (Langley Advance files)

UPDATE: Deadline extended for Langley’s SASSY awards for youth

Deadline to nominate ‘exemplary’ local kids – ages 15 to 21– to be honoured is now midnight March 16.

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended to Friday, March 16.

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The hunt is on again for exceptional youth in Langley.

This search shouldn’t be too difficult, according to George Bryce, one of the key organizers for this year’s SASSY Awards.

Nominations close at midnight this coming Friday, March 9. And while there are only eight applications received so far, Bryce said it’s not a worry. By week’s end, he expects that number to jump significantly.

“We know from the last two years that there will be a flood this coming week,” Bryce told the Langley Advance, one of the co-sponsors of the annual Service Above Self Student Youth (SASSY) Awards.

“Last year we received 42 nominations, and we’re optimistic that we will receive more than 60 this year.”

For the third year running, Langley Rotary Clubs are joining forces to host the SASSYs, and recognize youth who exemplify leadership in seven different categories: sports leadership, youth leadership, community service, leadership in arts, & culture, international service, environmental leadership, and leadership beyond adversity.

RELATED: Youth awards night in Fort Langley included $10,000 give back

In addition to receiving a stylish glass SASSY Award, each award winner in past has received a $1,000 bursary towards post-secondary education and a $500 donation to the charity of their choice, on their behalf.

This year, Rotary is upping the ante.

New this year, the two runners up in each category will also receive $500 bursaries.

“We are excited about this, as we get to support 14 more Langley youth as they move forward,” Bryce said. “That’s 21 Langley youth to receive $14,000.”

Following Friday’s deadline, applications will be reviewed and the judging session will once again be held at James Hill Elementary on Saturday, April 28.

Bryce – who is an Aldergrove Rotarian in charge of organizing the judging process – said whittling down all the entrants to the top three in each category is no small feat.

Thankfully, he said, it’s not up to him. It’s a decision shared with 21 judges (mainly Rotarians and some community members).

The detailed screening process culminates with an awards ceremony happening on Thursday, May 17, again at Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley. The evening typically includes awards presentations and some entertainment.

And as was the case last year, the 2018 awards night will be emceed by two of last year’s SASSY winners, Jasmine Lee and Ashley Haines.

Each year the event also brings awareness to an important community issue impacting Langley youth.

In year one, the focus was the Youth Homelessness Task Force, which brought about the Youth Hub set to open later this month in Langley.

In their second year, SASSY organizers wanted to shed light on the student driven food program called Weekend Fuelbag, “which has been doing exceptionally well this year securing some strong partnership,” Bryce said.

“This year we expect to provide a great platform for another worthwhile initiative,” he added, unwilling to divulge the details just yet but promising it will be part of the award night presentations.

For more information on the SASSY Awards, people can visit sassyawardslangley.ca.

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